I work in a 9-5 or office environment. Working full time can take a lot out of you and that’s regardless of your health status. Many of us who have chronic illnesses are still working full time, whether we can afford to or not.
I used to be an overachiever. I used to take pride in being a great at multitask and thriving under stress. Things have changed drastically since I started getting sick and unfortunately, management don’t believe that these changes have to with my illness. After all, I have multiple invisible illness. This means that you can’t see what these illness are doing to my body. That you can’t see how much pain I’m in. That you can’t see how difficult it is to remember things, to concentrate, sometime it’s even difficult to see.
I am worrying incessantly. I worry that I forgot to do something. I worry that people will complain about me again. I worry that my boss thinks I don’t take my job seriously. Employees in a demanding job are expected to deliver more than they can give and this increases their chances of acute health problems, so you see the problem here for someone who health is already an issue.
I worry that I’m going to loose my job. The main reason for stress at work for most employees is the risk of losing their jobs, so in that I’m not alone. I worry about paying bills. I worry about my health that seems to be getting worse regardless of all the steps and the medication I’m taking. I am constantly upset at night that I hadn’t completed my workload, that I haven’t done enough dishes, clean clothes.
I keep pushing on. In some misplaced way, I felt I owe my employer and my family. I feel I owed them a healthy employee, because they aren’t accepting the disable employee as I am now. Unfortunately, it’s something I can never be. I am too sick to be the employee that my employers want, but I’m not sick enough to get permanent sick leave and I need my group insurance to pay for the medication I need. I also need the paycheck to help pay the house and the food that my family needs. Guilt is driving me.
The problem is that the longer you stay in a job working for someone who stresses you, the greater the damage is to your physical and mental health. The harder I’m trying, the more energy I’m using, the sicker I’m getting.
As a society, “doing our best” has turned into giving too much and working until we have some kind of burnout or breakdown. That’s dangerous for anybody, let alone those who struggle with chronic illness.